Sports

Men’s basketball goes undefeated in Brown Bears Tip-Off Classic

Cambridge ’21 leads Bears with 20.3 points per game throughout critical tournament

By
Staff Writer
Sunday, November 18, 2018

Zach Hunsaker ’20 handles the ball against the University of Massachusetts Lowell Friday in an 82-74 victory. Desmond Cambridge ’21, named Tournament MVP, led the Bears with 61 points over the three games.

The men’s basketball team had a perfect weekend at the Brown Bears Tip-Off Classic, knocking off the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Sacred Heart University and Army West Point to earn a 3-0 record for the tournament. The Bears’ potent offense, led by guard Desmond Cambridge ’21, allowed them to race out to an early lead in all three games and hold on for a win each time.

Brown’s strong tournament represented an emphatic rebound from an 0-2 start to the season, in which both losses came by three or fewer points. Guard Brandon Anderson ’20 said that the Bears spent the days before the tournament “focusing on the things that we need to do individually to help the team be successful, and it showed this weekend.”

Bruno (3-2) took on the UMass Lowell River Hawks (3-3) Friday in its first game of the weekend. Josh Gantz and Alex Rivera helped the River Hawks to an early 13-6 lead in the first half, but the Bears quickly bounced back. Bruno took an 18-16 advantage after a strong run led by two three-pointers from guard Chris Sullivan ’19 and harnessed the momentum to take a 45-30 lead into halftime. Though the persistent River Hawks refused to back down, drawing within four points of the Bears in the second half, Brown stood firm for the 82-74 win.

Brown’s second game of the weekend was a similar story, as the Bears raced out to a 42-28 halftime lead over the Sacred Heart Pioneers (2-3). The Bears maintained a comfortable advantage for the first nine minutes of the second half, but an 11-0 Pioneer run, which included nine points by Sean Hoehn, cut Brown’s lead to just three with 9:42 remaining. Although Sacred Heart hung close with Bruno for the remainder of the contest, a gritty finish enabled Brown to keep ahead and earn an 82-77 victory.

In the final game of the tournament, Brown downed the Army Black Knights (1-4) with a score of 86-66. Eight three-pointers in the first half powered the Bears to a 20 point halftime lead, and this time Bruno remained comfortably ahead as there was no second-half surge by the other team. The closest the Black Knights could come in the second half was within 19 points as Brown cruised to its third triumph.

“Our defense was sound and solid throughout, and that’s why they weren’t ever able to make an established run,” said Head Coach Mike Martin ’04 about Brown’s performance against the Black Knights.

Cambridge put up a total of 61 points over the three games, including a 25-point scoring outburst against Sacred Heart. Other key contributors included forward Tamenang Choh ’21, who averaged 8.7 rebounds per game throughout the tournament and posted a double-double against Army, and Anderson, who averaged 9.3 points per game on the weekend. Cambridge, Choh and Anderson were named to the Brown Bears Tip-Off Classic All-Tournament Team, and Cambridge was named Tournament MVP.

Guard Zach Hunsaker ’20 believes the Bears’ ability to build momentum helped them jump out to early leads in each game. “When we get those open shots and get that first one going, we get into a rhythm,” he said.

Anderson also acknowledged the Bears’ offensive prowess and said that Brown’s defense made the difference this weekend. “Last season we were basically outscoring teams to win, and this season we know we’re going to score,” he said, adding that it is only a question of “can we get the stops.”

The fast-improving Bears will look to carry this weekend’s momentum throughout the rest of their non-conference schedule. They host Division III opponent Salve Regina Wednesday, before facing Bryant in a Sunday showdown.